Massacra

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One of France's first extreme metal bands of international import, Massacra began coming together in the Paris suburb of Franconville circa 1986, when the influence of thrash still held sway over most…
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One of France's first extreme metal bands of international import, Massacra began coming together in the Paris suburb of Franconville circa 1986, when the influence of thrash still held sway over most of the metal world, and also the band's own early demos, naturally. But by the time bandmembers Pascal Jürgensen (vocals/bass), Fred Duval (vocals/guitar), Jean-Marc Tristani (guitar), and Chris Palengat (drums) recorded their debut album, Final Holocaust, in 1990, the fast-spreading virus of death metal had already infiltrated their sound, making both this LP and its speedily released follow-up, Enjoy the Violence (1991), acclaimed masterworks of the transitional thrash/death hybrid (probably best exemplified by Sepultura's 1987 masterpiece, Schizophrenia). Unfortunately, not even such high standards of savage inspiration could stop this formula from sounding relatively tired and repetitive when Massacra unleashed their third album, 1992's unintentionally aptly named Signs of the Decline (their first with new drummer Matthias Limmer). So the members of Massacra decided to reinvent themselves via 1994's Sick opus, which -- along with the next year's oddly named Humanize Human (featuring new drummer Björn Crugger and released by major label Phonogram) -- slowed down the pace somewhat and pursued an alternative metal route (akin to Soundgarden, Faith No More, and others) in a bid to broaden the group's sound. As one might expect, this significant directional shift greatly polarizing fan opinion, but all concerns to that effect were soon rendered moot by the far more grievous drama resulting from bandleader Duval's skin cancer diagnosis a short time later. As a result, Massacra's career was placed on indefinite hold while the guitarist wrestled with his disease (although Duval and Tristani did manage to work on an industrial side project called Zero Tolerance), to which he finally succumbed on June 6, 1997. Massacra also died with him, as the group's remaining members wisely chose to disband rather than attempt carrying on without their fallen friend; their only subsequent release came in the shape of 2000's Apocalyptic Warriors, Pt. 1 compilation.